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For America, Perhaps Now is The Time For Neutrality

Among the most striking aspects of the current debate over U.S. foreign policy is the almost complete lack of perception among Americans about their country’s actual economic and military capabilities and its international influence. Whether it is Ukraine and Russia, the intensifying Islamist offensive on several continents, or the blatantly Potemkin Middle East peace talks, U.S. political leaders, academics, pundits, and most of the media speak as if today’s America is the America of 1945, 1984, or 1991, times when the United States was a nation of almost unlimited military and economic power and telling international influence.

Today, we are barely a shadow of that powerful nation. Indeed, while Washington under either party speaks as if it is the world’s voice of power and all-knowing authority, we are really the very picture of an overused, late-middle age Madam who eagerly displays her sagging wares but doesn’t seem to realize that she has lost her looks, allure, and persuasiveness, and is much more laughed at than lusted over.
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Afghan Elections for Another Fake Regime

Afghanelection

Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington.

The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.

Such is the rotten foundation on which Washington is hoping to build a compliant Afghan “democracy” that will continue to offer bases to US troops and warplanes. Afghanistan’s majority, the Pashtun tribes, have little voice in the election charade.

The largest, most popular party in Afghanistan, Taliban, and its smaller ally, Hisbi-Islami, have been excluded as “terrorists” from the current and past elections. They are boycotting the vote, rightly claiming it will be rigged and run by the western powers and their local collaborators. We see this same pattern of faux democracy across the Mideast.
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NATO Exploits Ukraine Crisis to Demonstrate Its Relevance

NATO's bureaucrats — and the military-industrial complex that supplies them — are thrilled with the new lease on life given them by the Ukraine crisis. That is why NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen keeps telling anyone who will listen, that NATO is needed more than ever and it must be given even more new missions. Old cold warriors are coming out of the woodwork to wave NATO flags and talk about the glories of "collective security."

In the below edition of RT's Crosstalk, watch RPI academic advisor John Laughland and fellow NATO skeptic Eric Kraus debate a neoconservative hawk from the Heritage Foundation on the subject of whether NATO has any real value or purpose more than 20 years after the Warsaw Pact shut its doors. The inability of the hawk to provide any reasonable defense of NATO is very telling.
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The Theory Behind USAID Is Wrong...And in Practice It's Worse!

Usaidtroop

USAID (United States Agency for International Development) announces its theory as follows: “USAID says that its work helps ensure American security and prosperity – arguing that the world is more stable if there is less poverty and strife.”

If the U.S. government props up client states with aid, floods their markets with American agricultural goods, underwrites military purchases, introduces Keynesian economic practices, and provides disaster aid, this is supposed to make the people wealthier and reduce political strife. If the country becomes more indebted to the IMF and World Bank, building unprofitable signature projects, this is supposed to raise living standards, making people content and happy. And all of that improvement, which actually doesn’t happen, is supposed to make Americans more secure and prosperous, a very far-fetched theory.

Intra-domestic wealth transfers in the U.S. likewise have done more harm than good, producing greater dependency, worse education, more red tape, and higher debt while undercutting private capital growth that might have involved job creation. Why are we not to expect that foreign wealth transfers are likewise doing more harm than good?
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The US Government Should Butt Out of Venezuela

In an op-ed in the New York Times this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls for peace in Venezuela. The socialist president has been besieged by demonstrations in which several protestors have been killed. The protesters focus on horrendous economic conditions brought about by Maduro’s socialist economic policies. Maduro is issuing a call for domestic peace.

The problem is that whenever a ruler who is independent of the US Empire is in power, the US national-security state apparatus, especially the CIA, oftentimes gets involved in the process, stirring up trouble and doing whatever it can to achieve the ouster of the ruler and his replacement with a pro-U.S. stooge, ideally one who is a military dictator. It’s no concern of the U.S. government how many foreign citizens die in the process.
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Senate Report Exposes Torture and Misrepresentations By CIA Officials . . . But Recommends No Prosecution

Torture

We previously discussed how CIA officials were accused of trying to intimidate Senate staffers working on an investigation into allegations of torture and lies by the agency officials. Now the details of that still classified report have been leaked to the media. For the Senate Intelligence Committee (long accused of being a rubber stamp for intelligence agencies), the report is quite damning. The Senate found a pattern of misinformation knowingly released by the CIA to convince the public that its torture program yielded valuable intelligence — and new forms of torture that have never been previously confirmed. What is most striking however is what is not in the report: a recommendation for criminal prosecution. Indeed, consistent with its past approach to intelligence abuses, the Committee does not recommend any action be taken against a single CIA official.

The investigation reportedly details how the CIA knowingly and methodically misled the government and the public about intelligence derived from torture. This was part of a concerted effort by CIA officials and Bush officials to claim that the killing of Osama Bin Laden and other intelligence victories only occurred due to the use of torture. Indeed, the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” was a disturbing revisionist film that directly linked torture derived information with the killing of Bin Laden despite an absence of any support for such a claim. The very persons who could have been prosecuted for the torture program have given countless interviews assuring the public that the torture was beneficial. Putting aside the question of why benefits from a torture program would excuse the crime, this report further confirms that these claims were untrue.
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Targeting Iran

Iranmossad

I am going to explain why Gareth Porter’s new book Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare is possibly the most important expose of political corruption and government malfeasance to appear in the past ten years. Investigative reporter Porter’s meticulously documented account tells the tale of how the government lied again and again to make a fabricated from full cloth case, which he describes as a "false narrative," against Iran. While the tale was being spun, the US and Israeli governments both knew that the entire process was completely bogus and that Iran had no nuclear weapons program but they continued to engage in the deception in spite of the fact that it created a crisis where none existed and generated an international confrontation that could have easily been avoided.

Shockingly, Washington participated in the fraud in spite of there being no compelling national interest to do so and in the latter stages of the grand deception it colluded with Israel to disseminate false documents and blatantly misleading assessments made by Mossad, while also feeding inaccurate information and other fabricated intelligence to both US allies and the media. It also aggressively pressured international bodies to force them to lend credibility to the lies in support of a US agenda that was both fraudulent and that made no sense then just as it makes no sense now. Along the way the United States ignored its obligations in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which it is a signatory, a clear violation of Article Six of the Constitution, and eventually brought itself perilously close to an unnecessary war, a trap engineered by Israel and its powerful friends which it is currently trying to disengage from.
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‘Just Salute and Follow Orders’: When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law

Spiedon

Question: How can you tell when a politician is lying?  Answer: When he’s moving his lips.

If that didn’t generate a chuckle, how about:
Q: Why is honesty in politics like oxygen?

A: The higher you go, the scarcer it gets.
Then there’s President Obama’s gaffe on the Tonight Show: “We don’t have a domestic spying program,” which is downright laughable in light of this past year’s revelations about domestic spying by the National Security Agency. But if that still doesn’t push you over the edge into near hysterics, here’s one guaranteed to get the biggest laugh of all, at least from those clear-sighted enough to grasp the irony of a politician talking about “trust”:
“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law,” declared President Obama in June 2013, in response to questions about the government’s domestic spying program, “then we’re going to have some problems here.”

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Ron Paul Rewind: 'Repeal the Whole War on Drugs'

While United States Attorney General Eric Holder’s support for reducing some drug crime sentences promises to help some drug war victims and their families, RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul has advocated for decades the comprehensive solution of ending the war on drugs. Watch here Paul promote that the US government stop building “more courts and more prisons” and instead “repeal the whole war on drugs” during the 2007 PBS Republican presidential candidates debate...
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Ron Paul, Richard Cobden, and the Risks of Opposing War

Crimeawar

Since at least as early as the eighteen century, classical liberalism, and its modern variant libertarianism, have opposed warfare except in cases of obvious self-defense. We see this anti-war position clearly among the anti-federalists of eighteenth-century America (who opposed all standing armies) and more famously within George Washington’s Farewell Address. Thomas Jefferson frequently inveighed against war, although in moves typical for Jefferson, he acted against his own professed ideology on a number of occasions.

On the other side of the Atlantic, liberalism finally made significant gains in Britain with the rise of the Anti-Corn Law League in the late 1830s. The head of the league, a radical liberal named Richard Cobden, rose to prominence throughout the 1840s and is notable today for his active defense of laissez-faire capitalism as a member of the House of Commons, and also for his staunch anti-interventionism in foreign affairs.

For a time, his political star rose quickly, but by the time the Crimean War ended, Cobden, had been cast aside by both a ruling class and a public enthusiastic for both empire and war.
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